WATCH: Herman Mashaba aloft shoulders as he’s named Joburg mayor

by Amogelang Mbatha and Sam Mkokeli

(Bloomberg) — The candidate of South Africa’s main opposition party was elected mayor of Johannesburg, ending the ruling African National Congress’s control of the nation’s economic hub as well as the capital, Pretoria, after its worst electoral performance since the end of apartheid.

Herman Mashaba, a 56-year-old cosmetics entrepreneur, was elected as Johannesburg’s mayor on Monday during a often-raucous 11-hour session during which an ANC councilor collapsed and died. His victory, secured with the support of South Africa’s third-biggest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, means Democratic Alliance mayors run Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, the nation’s second-biggest city, and Nelson Mandela Bay.

The loss of Johannesburg and Pretoria capped a dramatic setback for the ANC, which has dominated South African politics since Nelson Mandela led the party to power in 1994 in the nation’s first democratic elections. It resulted from Aug. 3 local elections when the ANC’s support retained outright majority control in just three of the nation’s eight metropolitan councils. The ANC’s share of the national popular vote fell to 54.5 percent from 62.2 percent in national elections two years earlier, with a series of scandals implicating President Jacob Zuma, an economic slump and high unemployment eroding its urban support.

“It is a psychological blow to the ANC in a big way,” said Somadoda Fikeni, a politics professor at the University of South Africa in Pretoria. “First you lose a city named after your icon, Nelson Mandela, then you lose the administrative capital, now you lose your economic hub and you are reduced to the periphery.”

Mashaba defeated the ANC’s candidate, Parks Tau, who’d been mayor of Johannesburg since 2011.

The municipalities oversee electricity and water distribution, some roads, parks, libraries and sanitation. Johannesburg, headquarters to the stock exchange and most of South Africa’s largest companies, and Pretoria, where dozens of diplomatic missions are based, have a combined budget of about 81 billion rand ($6 billion) and population of 8.3 million people.

For more on the aftermath of South Africa’s local elections, click here

The rand has gained 2.2 percent against the dollar since the day of the election, the third-best performer of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Allegations that the ANC offered R500,000 bribes in desperate last-ditch bid to retain Joburg city government

A strange thing happened last week during voting for mayor in the hung council of Rustenburg. After a 44-44 first round with a single spoiled ballot, a second round threw up a vote of 46-43 in favour of the incumbent ANC. The opposition EFF/DA alliance were shocked at the outcome and soon whispers of bribery emerged. Similar ugliness erupted on the eve of today’s critical vote for mayorship of Johannesburg. But this time the claims are specific. The EFF has a name and a payoff figure – and is opening a criminal charge of bribery and corruption against a Joburg mayoral committee member. Are these accusations credible? The courts will decide, but the facts are worth revisiting. The ANC has controlled the council – and its massive budgets – since 1994. In this month’s election it fell 15 seats short of retaining control of the 270-seat council. That’s exactly the number of seats smaller parties won – but as the leading opposition party, the DA, has tied up some of those, to retain power the ANC had to win over some EFF members. Were it not for the erratic events in Rustenburg, accusations of vote buying might have been easier to dismiss. The true test of democracy is what happens after long-time incumbents behave once they lose power. – Alec Hogg

By Jeff Wicks

Johannesburg – The Economic Freedom Fighters have accused the ANC’s Dan Bovu of offering their councillors hundreds of thousands of rands in exchange for votes in the Johannesburg City Council election on Monday.

Bovu is a member of the Mayoral Committee.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement that they would be opening a criminal case of bribery and corruption against Bovu.

FINAL: The Big 6 - Metro Council seats          
Total seats2016: ANC2016: DA2016: EFF2016: other2011: ANC2011: DA2011: Other
Cape Town22157154737313513
Nelson Mandela Bay12050576763489
1 25455254610155658460100

“Dan Bovu, who thinks our democracy is up for sale. Dan Bovu has been calling our councillors, offering them money to the value of R500 000 in exchange for them to vote with the ANC during the elections of the Johannesburg City Council tomorrow,” he said.

“The ANC must concede defeat and not try win elections through corruption. Even if they were to be successful on Monday to buy any councillor candidate, their mayor will not last, because political parties have the right to replace councillors. We will therefore do so and ensure that the ANC is out of power in Johannesburg,” he said.

Julius Malema, leader of South Africa's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), gestures during a media briefing in Alexandra township near Sandton, South Africa August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Julius Malema, leader of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), gestures during a media briefing in Alexandra township near Sandton, South Africa August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

“The EFF’s votes are not up for sale, be it money or positions. We are going to punish the ANC in Johannesburg, which has failed to transform people’s lives for the past 22 years. We are going to punish them for all the arrogance of choosing to protect corruption at the expense of the people,” Ndlozi added.

The ANC in Johannesburg released a statement on Sunday on Bovu’s behalf.

“I have noted with great concern the serious, defamatory and spurious allegations of bribery that the EFF is making against me to bribe their Johannesburg councillors. It must be stated that I have never met EFF councillors, nor have I offered anyone bribes to vote with the ANC. I intend to open a case of defamation against my character by the EFF,” the statement reads.

“Since the election results were announced, the ANC has been in dialogue with other parties who are clear that they do not represent an agenda that seeks to reverse the democratic gains we as ANC have achieved since 1994.” – News24


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